After my 5k performance on Thursday I half expected today’s run to be long and slow. At the start my calf muscles were still a little tight from the effort on Thursday, it was cold (25 F or -4 C) and windy and I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t help but think an active recovery ride yesterday might have been a good idea. My buddy Marc and I started out way too fast for a long run and I prepared myself for a sucky run. I happened into a side stitch before we hit the first mile marker and that almost did me in… Then I flipped everything around in my head. I told the committee that they were just going to have to suck it up, ’cause I wasn’t quitting. I slowed down just a touch and got control of my breathing. Before long I burped and released that stitch and relaxed. By the third mile I felt normal. By the fifth I felt like I could run forever. By the seventh I actually had a smirk on my face that lasted all the way to the finish.
In the end, I was just a shade under ten miles (9.9) and I beat last year’s Crim pace by more than 4-1/2 minutes, which is just a little faster than my goal for my Rev3 in September. My running, the hardest leg for me, is coming along a lot better than I thought possible.
My weight and BMI have dropped again, to 156.2 and 21.2 respectively and I’m wondering if that doesn’t have something to do with the way I’ve been running lately, even though I’m only 3.8 lbs lighter than my Crim weight in August. I really don’t know, and probably won’t bother spending anymore time trying to figure it out. I think I’ll just be happy and call it good, and enjoy a little bit of a pig out tonight. Not only have I earned it, I really don’t want to be any lighter.
But let’s look at the title of this post for just a minute because it’s important. Physical exercise and pushing myself have gotten infinitely easier over the last two years. There is a multiple part answer as to why this is. First, and easiest, is my weight. I’ve dropped 14 lbs in since last June. To examine this objectively, find a 14 lb bowling ball and carry it around with you for a half hour. That it’s easier to run without one is a not rocket science. Next would have to be the enjoyment and feeling of well-being that goes with the training and release of endorphins. Finally, after I’m done with the day’s workout, I almost always feel stronger and tougher for having done it. I’ve grown smarter and gotten faster in ways that I simply didn’t think were possible a year ago. With each little victory, each little personal best, it’s snow balling into a more confident me. For instance, last year I didn’t think I’d ever see a sub 24 minute 3 miles – I just didn’t think I could do that. Thursday’s time at the 3 mile mark was 22:53, and that wasn’t my fastest. I didn’t think I’d ever run a sub 7:30 minute mile – I do it all the time now – and once in a while on longer runs when I’m feeling spunky. The more I accomplish that I once thought impossible, the easier it is to shed the notion that I can’t.
In fact, on that last point – at some point last year I stopped nagging myself. In addition to the “I can” that replaced “I can’t”, I’ve also shed the thinking that I’m to thin or too thick, too slow or not muscular enough. I just don’t go there anymore and it’s been a long while since the last time. I’m OK. I’m not better or worse than anyone else, but I’m damn happy with being me.
To wrap this up, I’ve heard training referred to as suffering… But if you truly love it, is it really suffering? I’ll leave that to smarter folks than I.
I hope your training day was as rewarding as mine.